Amy Smedinghoff was killed yesterday in Afghanistan delivering books to children in their school. She joined the US Foreign Service three years ago right after Johns Hopkins. Her convoy was hit by a suicide bomber. The Foreign Service was “a calling” to her, according to Amy Smedinghoff’s parents in the NYT’s article. I expect that the three US soldiers and other civilian who died with her also believed they had a calling to serve.
Frank Knight, the Chicago School economist said that “the chief thing which the common-sense individual actually wants is not the satisfaction for the wants which he has, but more, and better wants.” In an era of racing to meet our “needs,” of hundreds of transactions and exchanges a day on social media, it would serve us well to stop and think about the power of the “calling.”
A calling is a higher order “want,” more like a dream or aspiration than need. It motivates people across many realms of life. A calling is what motivates teachers, religious leaders, foreign service people and soldiers but it is also the driving force for entrepreneurs in starting up new companies. A calling is a primary economic force that drives growth.
We are called to a mission. It beckons us. It beckoned this wonderful woman.